This is my experience, and I'm writing it at a time when I don't feel good, but I just felt like I needed to say this, and I needed to say it where people might understand. I haven't posted or commented on this forum for over three years, for which I'm very sorry.
This is being an Aspergirl:
1) it's not being diagnosed until you're 20 (and that's comparatively young I think) because everyone looks for the traits of Asperger's that are recognisable in boys, and no one thinks that a girl might be struggling just as much, even if in a slightly different way. No one sees how hard we have to work every day of our lives to seem 'normal'.
2) It's being excluded and bullied to some extent at every school, childminder, club, or university you go to.
3) It's loneliness
4) It's the toll of all that becoming an eating disorder when you are 13, that still plagues you at 24. It's being hospitalised for long periods where people don't understand your meltdowns, and simply don't understand you...at least at first (I have met some really good mental health workers in my time).
5) It's being asked by a nurse: 'why do you have anorexia, were you abused?', replying 'never', and not being believed -- because, surely, surely, there must be a terrible trauma in your life to want to punish yourself every day. It's the guilt you feel when you know that there is no tangible reason for your difficulties, and then the realisation that yes, there is a trauma. Your trauma is that you have lived your whole life not easily understanding or being understood by the world around you; and it's the terrible strain of trying to navigate a world that bewilders you.
6) It's being naive. It's suffering sensory overload.
7) It's being told in class your whole life that you talk too much, interrupt, are too intense.
8) It's trying to explain, after you make a blunder, through the uncontrollable tears, that you never mean any harm.
9) It is not a lack of empathy. It's aching after everyone you know and don't know, constantly. It's like George Eliot wrote: 'if we had a keen vision and feeling for all human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow, or the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar that lies on the other side of silence.' (may not be a perfectly remembered quote)
10) It's constant, constant anxiety. And quite often, exhaustion and sadness.
11) It's feeling you are faulty, bad and wrong.
This is a very negative list, but I'm feeling bad right now. I do have amazing parents and, over the last few years, some truly brilliant and unusual friends. I'm lucky to have always been loved by my dedicated and patient family.
Hi Lydia - you have the same name as me!
Your list has many very relatable points. I was only recently diagnosed and I am still trying to absorb everything.
I read somewhere that a lot of women with autism end up with eating disorders and are only treated for that, instead of addressing the autism itself.
Also - I bought an amazing shirt with a cat on it today. Cats really are great :P
Hi Lyddybird :-). I like your username! I hope the diagnosis helps you make sense of things a little more clearly. Thanks for your reply, and I'm sorry you can relate to so many of the difficulties...but I suppose now we both know we aren't alone. And yes, cats forever hehe!